Clean eating is easier than most people think. All you have to do is follow this blueprint for healthy eating and you’ll burn fat, increase your longevity, sleep better and have better sex. What’s not to like?

1. Don’t eat anything your grandma wouldn’t recognise as food

There are thousands of “foodish” products in supermarkets that our ancestors wouldn’t recognise as food. They are processed in ways specifically designed to get us to buy and eat more by pressing our evolutionary buttons — our natural preference for sweet, salty and fatty foods. These tastes are hard to find in nature but cheap and easy in factories, which usually produce foods with low to no nutritional value.

2. Eat your colours

The colour of many vegetables reflects the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain, such as anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids and carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic diseases but each does so in a different way, so the best protection comes from a diet containing as many different colours as possible.

3. Avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients

The more ingredients in a packaged food, the more highly processed it is likely to be. Note that this doesn’t apply to a recipe for a home-cooked meal, only pre-packaged food products.

4. Avoid ingredients not found in your cupboard

Ethoxylated diglycerides? Xanthan gum? If you wouldn’t cook with these “ingredients” yourself, why let others use them in food you’re going to eat? These chemicalsare used to keep food fresher for longer, and while they may not prove a health hazard, the fact that we haven’t been eating them for long means they’re best avoided.

5. Avoid food products that make health claims for themselves

Sounds counterintuitive, right? But to carry a health claim the food must have packaging, so right off the bat it’s more likely to be processed. The healthiest food in the supermarket — fresh stuff — doesn’t boast about how healthy it is because (a) it doesn’t come packaged; and (b) growers don’t have the marketing budget of big corporations.

 

Related: Eat More Vegetables